Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Tuesday expressed his disappointment after the High Court in Londay dismissed his appeal against a 2018 order to extradite him to India over money laundering charges. He added that he will continue to seek legal remedies, PTI reported.
Mallya faces fraud and money laundering charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct company Kingfisher Airlines. The businessman fled India and moved to London in March 2016. Mallya owes Indian banks more than Rs 9,000 crore. He had appealed to the High Court against his extradition to India in February.
“I am naturally disappointed with the High Court decision,” Mallya said in a statement. “I will continue to pursue further legal remedies as advised by my lawyers. I have repeatedly offered to repay the banks in full, but sadly to no avail.”
Mallya also expressed his disappointment with the “media narrative” that says Rs 9,000 crore as the amount owed in the fraud and money laundering case brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate against him. “Please note that the allegations against me and others are specifically and only related to three tranches of borrowing from IDBI Bank for a total of Rs 900 crores in 2009,” said Mallya.
The judgment noted that between April and November 2009, five banks – the State Bank of India, the Bank of India, the Bank of Baroda, the United Bank of India and United Commercial Bank – extended loans to Kingfisher Airlines worth Rs 1,250 crore, leaving a shortfall of Rs 750 crore from the desired infusion of Rs 2,000 crore. The airlines then approached another bank, the Industrial Development Bank of India, to make up for that shortfall.
“We consider that while the scope of the prima facie case found by the SDJ [Senior District Judge] is in some respects wider than that alleged by the Respondent in India [Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate], there is a prima facie case which, in seven important respects, coincides with the allegations in India,” Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing of the Royal Courts of Justice in London had said.
India submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom in February 2017 after Mallya made his self-imposed exile clear. In July, the United Kingdom High Court allowed him to challenge his extradition order.
In January this year, a court in Mumbai allowed the banks to utilise Mallya’s movable assets to recover the money they are owed. On January 6, the Supreme Court said Mallya cannot cite the pendency of his plea in the top court to delay insolvency proceedings in courts “anywhere else in the world”.
Earlier this month, the High Court in London deferred hearings on a plea by a consortium of banks, led by the State Bank of India, seeking that businessman Mallya be declared bankrupt, to enable them to recover a loan of around £1.145 billion (Rs 10,832 crore) from him. The court ruled that he should be given time till his petitions to the Supreme Court of India and his settlement proposal before the Karnataka High Court are determined.